This short Malayalam TV series presents Onam recipes as songs


Cookery series ‘Singing Chef — Oru Paattu Paachakam’ on Surya TV presents 10 recipes for Onam in the form catchy numbers

How about spicing up your special Onam recipes with a dash of music? Cookery programme series Singing Chef — Oru Paattu Paachakam being aired on Surya TV adds a tuneful touch by presenting recipes in the form of three-minute, easy-to-remember songs. The series, which started on the day of Atham (August 22), showcases 10 different recipes each for 10 days, culminating on Thiruvonam.

K Gireeshkumar, programming head of the channel, says he struck upon the idea while looking for a cookery show “with a difference” for the festive season. “I have noticed similar shows blending music and food in other languages. We felt this would be a novel idea in Malayalam television and help reach more viewers. Also, we wanted to break the typical pattern of cookery shows that feature celebrity guests or a travelling chef,” he says.

It is conceptualised as an “interactive show” in the form of a musical exchange between a mother and a daughter or a daughter-in-law. The show is enacted by actor Reshmi Boban and television anchor Bella George.

Gireeshkumar says the short, three-minute format helps in telecasting repeats of the same episode for the day and serves as handy programme fillers. “An episode’s first slot is at 9 am and is shown randomly depending on the need for fillers. Also, since it is only about three minutes long, the content is kept to the point,” he says.

Actor Reshmi Boban (right) and television anchor Bella George in a still from the series

Actor Reshmi Boban (right) and television anchor Bella George in a still from the series  
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Special Arrangement

Ajith Sukumaran, who composed the tunes to the lyrics expounding recipes, says he went for “semi-fast, feel-good tones” in order to bring out the feel of enjoying the process of cooking. “For instance, when we speak about, say, spluttering mustard in oil or stirring thoroughly, the music had to enhance that sensuous element of cooking. That was the challenging part,” he says. The tracks are sung by Sobha Sivani, Anagha DR and Vandana Nair, with Reshmi Boban herself crooning one.

Lyrics were penned by Rajani V Menon, who runs a YouTube cookery channel, Rajani at Kitchen. “The producers were keen that the lines had to be simple, lucid and musical to appeal to a general audience. We wanted to look at some uncommon recipes, both curries and payasams, showcasing variety but still easily doable at home during Onam. Also, the dishes had to be visually appealing,” she points out.

The 10 recipes covered for each day of the series are ari ada ellu payasam, kattar vazha (aloe vera) sambar, chendamuriyan (nenthra kaaya) payasam, vazhakoombu (banana flower) cutlet, thengin chotta payasam, cashew koottu curry, kurukku kaalan, vada koottu curry, thalagam and perakka (guava) pachadi. Rajani, who likes to experiment with traditional Kerala recipes, says she had tried out all the dishes cherry-picked for the series to ensure they are fit for the occasion.

Singer Sobha Sivani, who crooned seven of the songs, says it was an interesting experience. “If what I try to appeal to are emotions when singing film numbers, here I had to try and tickle the taste-buds through my voice. It was like singing as if I was experiencing the true taste of the dishes,” she adds.

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